Plans are underway to improve accessibility to the south side of the Pemberton and District Community Center and Public Library
A funding request has been approved that will make accessibility improvements to the Pemberton & District Community Center (PDCC) and public library.
The funding, secured through Employment and Social Development Canada’s Accessibility Fund, was presented to the Mayor and Council of the Village of Pemberton (VOP) at the November 16 meeting by VOP Recreation Director Christine Burns, and Library Director Emma Gillis.
In 2018, the Rick Hansen Foundation conducted an accessibility audit of the PDCC and made recommendations that library users would benefit from “improved access to the main entrance” and by “providing a manual push button. electric for the library ”.
Based on these recommendations, Burns approved the funding request to make these necessary changes in the spring of 2020. After initially being denied, additional funding became available in August 2021, and the original 2020 request was approved, awarding to the library $ 100,000. to “undertake accessible improvements to the PDCC building”.
In their report, Burns and Gillis outlined three goals for the upcoming project, including:
• Improved access to the building on the south side, improved safety for emergency evacuations by installing a ramp and replacing the existing exterior doors with accessible ones;
Improvement of internal access to the library by replacing the existing interior entrance doors with accessible ones;
• Improved exterior access to the library by replacing the current fire door at the south entrance with an accessible door and adding an accessible component to the main doors of the PDCC at the south end.
“For a long time, accessibility to the south side of the building has been a challenge, especially during fire evacuations,” said Gillis.
“That was one of the things that really stood out about the Rick Hansen grant and when we had fire drills we usually had old people and people with infants, and they always happened ironically by bad weather.
“We had to help people climb nine stairs to get to our assembly point. So it’s been a challenge for a long time on this site just with where our fire escape is and where our meeting point is.
“And so that’s always been a really key goal for us… It’s one of those things when there’s an evacuation, which usually happens when you have your most vulnerable population in space. And the side of the building that we use is just not very accessible to people with reduced mobility.
According to Burns, they are currently in the process of receiving quotes for the costs of the renovations and contractor drawings of the new additions, but it is believed that the $ 100,000 grant will cover all planned expenses for this project.
While the mayor and council also believe the proposed project is indispensable for the PDCC, with Mayor Mike Richman calling it a “win-win” for everyone, Councilor Craddock raised the issue of adding a accessible parking on the newly accessible side of the building. .
“Right now, to access this building, people are parking all around the building to enter,” he said. “So I think that would be a really good thing to do. I know it’s a freeway up front, but people are parking along and it would definitely be nice to have at least one designated spot for this situation.
At Craddock’s suggestion, Executive Director Nikki Gilmore noted that, as the road on the south side of the building falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation, it is generally not an eligible location that can be designated for accessible parking, even if parking is allowed on the road. .
Eventually the mayor and council received the report and Burns and Gillis will move forward with the project keeping in mind the councilor’s suggestions.